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02.09.11

Links 9/2/2011: Android 2.4 to Ship, IBM/Oracle in Java Leadership

Posted in News Roundup at 5:38 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Did Open Source Companies Miss Their Channel Opportunity?

    First, what went wrong? Let’s rewind to 2009, when Synnex and Red Hat launched the Open Source Channel Alliance (OSCA) and Tech Data launched the Open Tech effort. The situation looked so darn promising, especially as open source ERP, CRM and groupware companies worked to promote their wares through the OSCA and Open Tech.

  • Events

    • LCA: IP address exhaustion and the end of the open net

      Geoff Huston is the Chief Scientist at the Asia Pacific Network Information Centre. His frank linux.conf.au 2011 keynote took a rather different tack than Vint Cerf’s talk did the day before. According to Geoff, Vint is “a professional optimist.” Geoff was not even slightly optimistic; he sees a difficult period coming for the net; unless things happen impossibly quickly, the open net that we often take for granted may be gone forevermore.

    • Introduction to Forensics – A Report from Southwest Drupal Summit

      Kyle argued that the best first step is to immediately pull the plug on the box. Do not diagnose the situation and do not shut the machine down gracefully. We use journaling file systems for a reason and the machine will probably be rebuilt from scratch, so the danger of corrupted data from killing the power is small. Once the machine is off, you should image the compromised drive with something like ‘dd’ and make a copy of the image to do your work on to protect you from accidentally contaminating the evidence.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • IBM/Oracle To Share Java Leadership: More Bylaws to Read

      I know bylaws are boring, but let me show you just a couple of highlights that, to me, show that while Oracle and IBM will be sharing leadership, albeit not equally weighted, the community isn’t inside the real loop, not yet anyway. This is draft 7 of the bylaws, so it’s not carved in stone. That doesn’t happen until March 3, after which it gets voted on by “OpenJDK Community members for ratification via an appropriate democratic process”, according to Mark Reinhold, the OpenJDK Lead. So please allow me to point out some bugs.

    • Oracle Opposes Google’s Motion to Compel

      I’m thinking what Oracle will argue at the hearing is that all Androids of necessity do infringe and that Google is guilty of “active and willful” inducement, and so for that reason it doesn’t have to point to a specific instance of direct infringement. In any case, this is what it looks like the hearing will be about on the topic of requirements for Oracle to disclose specific acts. Everything will depend, I would say, on whether Google can demonstrate that some Android products are so different from the others that they can’t possibly infringe or that if they do infringe, they do so in such a variety of different ways that they can’t prepare a defense unless Oracle gives them a map with at least some X’s on it, or that the patents represent an insignificant part of the products even if they are infringing and Androids have lots of noninfringing uses, that Oracle is, in effect, trying to shut down the wheels of commerce. And the one weakness that really could matter is whether Gingerbread doesn’t turn out to be like the others. If that is what Oracle determines, then its entire argument falls, I think. Then the 7 Android products are representative of nothing except Oracle’s need to get specific about all seven, distinguished from Gingerbread. All means all, and if Gingerbread doesn’t infringe, there is no ‘all’ in this picture.

    • Oracle and IBM to share open-source Java leadership

      Oracle has agreed to share governance of the OpenJDK Java community with IBM, in a move that demonstrates considerable good will, according to one analyst.

      The company has created a series of bylaws outlining the way the governance will be structured, with Oracle appointing itself chairman and the OpenJDK lead, and IBM taking the role of vice chairman.

    • Oracle and Java: Mobile dev FAIL dooms Ellison’s future

      Nor is Java helped any by the political infighting that has plagued its development over the last few years. Sun had its share of detractors for its (mis)management of Java, but the ire reserved for Oracle’s manhandling of Java and its Java Community Process takes the criticism to a new level.

  • Government

    • European Patent: FSFE urges European Parliament to wait for legal advice

      Free Software Foundation Europe is asking the Members of the European Parliament to wait for legal advice before voting on a unitary patent for Europe. While a proposal is on the Parliament’s agenda for the coming week, a legal opinion by the European Court of Justice is expected later this month.

      “Software patents hurt innovation and are an unnecessary burden on European software developers,” says Karsten Gerloff, President of the Free Software Foundation Europe. “Legislators need to take charge and make sure the patent system contributes to the public good. As the European Patent Organisation has acknowledged, this is a decision that cannot be left to bureaucrats and the judiciary.”

  • Openness/Sharing

Leftovers

  • Ghana- Of Port Corruption and the Use of Technology

    There’s a lot of talk in Ghana about the latest release by the nation’s most famous underground investigative reporter about massive corruption at the state port in Tema. Personally, I am not so much interested in the story as I am about why we allow such things to happen easily in this day and age.

    A cursory look at procedures at the harbor, and indeed in almost all spheres of our public institutions, one thing that stands out is how lagging behind we are in terms of automation. Shuffling papers about, moving from office to office, signature after signature, all means one thing- more human involvement.

  • Fiat Has Big Hopes for its Tiny Car

    Fifty-four years ago, Italy’s Fabbrica Italiana Automobili Torino produced a car the size of a large coffee table. It was three meters long, powered by a 479-cc engine and about as quick off the line as a riding lawnmower. It produced 13 horsepower, or roughly as much as a modern portable electric generator. America laughed — you could cram a 500 into the trunk of a ‘57 Cadillac, and crashing one was certain death — but the rest of the world just went ahead and bought the silly thing. Three-and-a-half million times.

  • Silvio Berlusconi threatens constitutional war over sex trial moves

    Silvio Berlusconi has raised the spectre of a full-scale constitutional showdown in Italy after prosecutors in Milan asked for him to be put on trial immediately, charged with sex-related offences.

    Italy’s prime minister accused them of breaking the law and going against parliament. Soon afterwards his chief ally, Umberto Bossi of the Northern League, said the indictment request marked the start of a “total war” between Italy’s judiciary and its legislature.

  • Open Letter To PC Makers: Ditch The Bloatware, Now!

    This is the final straw. This is the line in the sand. This is the year that companies have to wise up and realize that they’re destroying the experience of the very machines that they try to market so vigorously over their competitor’s products. We’re talking about bloatware, and it’s an issue that we simply cannot remain silent on any longer. It’s a very, very real problem, and it has been for years. But we always assumed that things would improve as the “fad” faded. Sadly, we assumed wrong. The fad hasn’t faded, and dare we say, things have become even less bearable over time.

  • Colorado Springs school bans kid who takes THC lozenges for neuro condition from attending because of “internal possession”
  • Will Governments Get To Veto New Web Domains Like .Gay?

    The non-profit organization that assigns IP addresses and related internet names, ICANN, will be rolling out a system offering new “top-level domains” over the course of 2011 and 2012. That means web sites could end in almost anything—from brand names like .coke or .ford to place names like .chicago or .nyc. And the Obama administration is pushing for giving the world’s governments veto powers over those new top-level domains which could create flash points over new domain names such as .gay. The proposal by the U.S. government, which comes as the Egyptian government was able to essentially shut off internet access for several days, has gotten some negative reaction.

  • Science

    • Now George W. Bush Wants to “Miseducate” Public School Principals

      The Bush/Obama plan of blaming teachers and principals for economic injustice will not improve education.

      As BuzzFlash has noted before, certainly there are public schoolteachers and principals who probably are not up to snuff. But we’ve also criticized the notion that public schools in poor urban and rural areas should miraculously be able to compensate for chronic conditions of communities with poverty and violence – and very few jobs.

      Because, as we’ve observed, there is not a national educational crisis. There is a problem with schools that are located in areas of limited economic means.

      Blaming principals and teachers in a war on public education in poor areas is a diversionary tactic from addressing the real problem: economic injustice and inequality.

    • Shuttle operator may propose commercial flights

      Starting as soon as 2013, after construction of a new external tank, the lead operator of NASA’s shuttle fleet proposes to fly twice a year with Atlantis and Endeavour at a cost of under $1.5 billion a year.

    • NASA’s Ares 1 to Be Reborn as the Liberty Commercial Launcher

      When President Barack Obama canceled the Constellation space exploration program, it was thought the Ares 1, the much-maligned planned rocket that would have launched the Orion into low Earth orbit, was dead and gone.

      However, it looks like ATK, the aerospace firm that manufactures solid rocket boosters for NASA, has entered into a joint venture with Astrium, the European firm that builds the Ariane V to build a commercial version of the Ares 1.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • The Environmental Causes of Cancer

      idea that most cancer is caused by environmental factors is becoming mainstream.

      A report by the President’s Cancer Panel, Reducing Environmental Cancer Risk: What We Can Do Now was published in April 2010 This latest annual report, for 2008–2009, was written by Suzanne H. Reuben for the cancer panel and published by the National Cancer Institute.

      The facts about cancer are dismal. As the report says, about 41 percent of Americans will be diagnosed with cancer at some time in their lives, and some 21 percent will die of it. In 2009 approximately 1.5 million new cases of cancer were diagnosed, and about 562,000 died of it.

    • China’s poor treated to fake rice made from plastic: report

      China’s history with food safety is a rocky one, but even in the annals of robbery and abuse, this will go down in infamy.

      Various reports in Singapore media have said that Chinese companies are mass producing fake rice made, in part, out of plastic, according to one online publication Very Vietnam.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Egyptian Protests Expose Fraudulent U.S. “Spreading Democracy” Meme

      The Egyptian people have exposed the great myth that prevails in the sphere of United States’ foreign policy, namely that U.S. foreign policy elites are concerned with “spreading democracy.”

      That is because, as Hampshire College’s Michael Klare has written, since 1945, the United States has maintained a foreign policy that is centered around “blood and oil.” The foreign policy establishment often uses “democracy spreading” as a public relations platitude because it sounds much better than saying, “We went to war for oil.” But caring about democracy goes out the window when one truly scrutinizes U.S. foreign policy through a critical lens. Sourcewatch calls this phenomenon Big Oil, Big Lies.

    • Rumsfeld’s Memoir: Known and Unknown and Untrue

      In his new book, deftly titled Known and Unknown, former Defense Secreatry Donald Rumsfeld insists that he and the Bush-Cheney crew did not purposefully misrepresent the WMD case for the Iraq war: “The President did not lie. The Vice President did not lie. Tenet did not lie. Rice did not lie. I did not lie. The Congress did not lie. The far less dramatic truth is that we were wrong.” He does acknowledge that he made a “few misstatements,” referring specifically only to one: when he declared early in the war, “We know where they [the WMDs] are. They’re in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south and north somewhat.”

    • Nixon and Bob Haldeman on Donald Rumsfeld

      President Nixon and Bob Haldeman∇ discuss Donald Rumsfeld, observing admiringly that he’s “tough enough” and a “ruthless little bastard.”

    • Feds investigating Church of Scientology for human trafficking: report

      The FBI has reportedly launched a sweeping probe into the controversial Church of Scientology for allegedly being involved in human trafficking.

      The investigation includes the cult’s mysterious leader David Miscavige, a close friend of actor Tom Cruise who was also best man at his wedding.

      The allegations are that Miscavige allegedly doled out regular beatings to members, The New Yorker reported in its current issue, which hit newsstands this morning.

    • The Reagan Myth Continues to Grow

      Many people forget that Reagan was divisive for the country and won almost no support among African-Americans. Conservatives also fail to acknowledge that Reagan raised taxes throughout his presidency, including one tax hike that at the time was the biggest in American history. Reagan’s legacy is one of unprecedented federal budget deficits fueled by tax cuts made at the same time the federal budget grew due to massive increases in military spending.

    • Funny How None Of The Bills About Extending The Patriot Act Seem To Kill Off The Pieces So Regularly Abused

      We’ve already discussed how it appears that Congress is set to extend the Patriot Act with little debate yet again, despite the growing evidence of rather massive abuses of the law by law enforcement officials, with little to no evidence that the law has actually helped. As it stands now, in the Senate there are apparently three competing versions of the extension, and not a single proposal that would actually cut off the highly controversial sections that allow for spying on Americans with little to no oversight.

      The three Senate bills kick off with one from Senator Patrick Leahy, which would extend the various provisions until the end of 2013, but would also include a tiny bit more oversight.

    • Robot X-47B stealth bomber test flight
    • Surprise: House Did NOT Automatically Extend The Patriot Act

      Turns out the conventional wisdom was wrong. The House could not conjure up enough votes to pass the extension. While a majority did vote for it, the rules required a 2/3 vote to pass and supporters of the extension fell 13 votes short — getting 277 in favor and 148 against. You can check out the roll call for the 148 Reps who didn’t just roll over.

    • Trial begins in shooting that started as trash-talking

      “He was struggling,” DeLuca testified. “He kept saying, ‘I have a permit to carry.’ “

  • Cablegate

    • Brit Perspectives on the Way Forward in Afghanistan

      In October 1 and 2 meetings with Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mullen, Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) Admiral Stavridis, and ISAF Commander General McChrystal, Prime Minister Brown, Foreign Secretary Miliband and other senior UK officials underscored HMG’s commitment to the allied mission in Afghanistan. They are eager for U.S. leadership to chart a clear course of future strategy in Afghanistan, including a desired end state, as soon as possible. In the British view, U.S. leadership is essential to keeping the coalition in place. Empowering the Afghan security forces to play a greater role is a top British priority. The British interlocutors stressed that continued willingness of the UK public to tolerate casualties depends upon the perception that the coalition has a strategy for success Afghanistan. They agreed that the fight against extremism in Pakistan is closely linked to the outcome in Afghanistan. In his meeting with McChrystal, Conservative Party leader David Cameron similarly stressed the importance of U.S. leadership and expressed support for continued, sustained effort.

    • U.S. Chamber Attacks FCIC as “Job-Killing” Wikileakers

      This is what the Chamber fears most of all, the FCIC’s planned release of those reckless, imprudent and downright ugly emails from the masters of the universe crowing about how well they do their jobs — fleecing America.

    • Times Editor Alarmed By Prospect of WikiLeaks Prosecution

      New York Times executive editor Bill Keller may not regard Julian Assange as a journalistic peer, but he made clear Thursday that he doesn’t think the WikiLeaks founder should face criminal prosecution in the United States.

      Keller joined his counterpart from Britain’s Guardian newspaper and a prominent Harvard Law School professor on a panel at Columbia University to discuss WikiLeaks, the secret-spilling website that has been publishing U.S. diplomatic cables and battlefield reports from Iraq and Afghanistan.

      “It’s very hard to conceive of a prosecution of Julian Assange that wouldn’t stretch the law in a way that would be applicable to us,” said Keller. “Whatever one thinks of Julian Assange, certainly American journalists, and other journalists, should feel a sense of alarm at any legal action that tends to punish Assange for doing essentially what journalists do. That is to say, any use of the law to criminalize the publication of secrets.”

    • WikiLeaks: Suleiman told Israel he would ‘cleanse’ Sinai of arms runners to Gaza

      The news is more evidence of the close ties between Israel, the United States and Mr Suleiman, who is tipped to replace Hosni Mubarak as Egypt’s president.

      The close relationship has emerged from American diplomatic cables leaked to the WikiLeaks website and passed to The Daily Telegraph.

    • WikiLeaks: Egyptian ‘torturers’ trained by FBI

      The US provided officers from the Egyptian secret police with training at the FBI, despite allegations that they routinely tortured detainees and suppressed political opposition.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • EU Parliament wants stricter rules for recycling electro-waste

      The European Parliament announced Thursday a proposal for stricter rules on regulating electronic waste, as it grapples with the problems its reliance on imported commodities presents to member economies.

      Millions of tons of electronic devices are discarded each year, and many contain one or more of the 14 elements the European Union has said are in critical supply. Those elements include magnesium, graphite, cobalt, gallium and germanium.

    • Scientists Found Chemical Dispersants Lingering in Gulf Long After Oil Flow Stopped

      Chemical compounds from the oil dispersants applied to the Gulf of Mexico didn’t break down as expected, according to a study released this week. Scientists found the compounds lingering for months in the deep waters of the Gulf, long after BP’s oil had stopped spewing.

      “The results indicate that an important component of the chemical dispersant injected into the oil in the deep ocean remained there, and resisted rapid biodegradation,” said scientist David Valentine of U.C. Santa Barbara, one of the investigators in the study.

    • Fracking Companies Injected 32M Gallons of Diesel, House Probe Finds

      Drilling service companies have injected at least 32 million gallons of diesel fuel underground as part of a controversial drilling technique, a Democratic congressional investigation has found.

    • New drilling method opens vast oil fields in US

      A new drilling technique is opening up vast fields of previously out-of-reach oil in the western United States, helping reverse a two-decade decline in domestic production of crude.

      Companies are investing billions of dollars to get at oil deposits scattered across North Dakota, Colorado, Texas and California. By 2015, oil executives and analysts say, the new fields could yield as much as 2 million barrels of oil a day – more than the entire Gulf of Mexico produces now.

    • The Kochs’ Climate Change Denial Media Machine

      A network of bloggers, pundits, think tanks and foundations get funding from the Kochs, including the Competitive Enterprise Institute, which has received over $700,000, and the libertarian Cato Institute, which has received $13 million from the Kochs since 1998. The Manhattan Institute received $1.5 million, Americans for Prosperity has gotten $5.5 million, the Pacific Research Institute has gotten $1.2 million and the Federalist Society $2 million.

    • 7.5 million ha of Indonesian forest slated for clearing

      7.5 million hectares of natural forest will escape Indonesia’s planned moratorium on new forestry concessions, according to a new report from Greenomics Indonesia, an activist group.

      Under its billion dollar forest conservation partnership with Norway, Indonesia committed to establish a moratorium on new concessions in forest areas and peatlands beginning January 1, 2011. But Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has yet to sign the decree due to debate over the details of what types of forest will be exempted. Presently two versions of the decree are circulating. The one drafted by the country’s REDD+ Taskforce, chaired by Kuntoro Mangkusubroto, is considerably stronger than one prepared by the Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Hatta Rajasa.

    • WikiLeaks cable: Saudi oil estimates may have been exaggerated

      Saudi Arabia’s oil reserves may have been grossly overestimated and its capacity to continue pumping at current capacity exaggerated, according to a U.S. diplomatic cable sent from the kingdom in 2007.

      The cable, obtained by WikiLeaks and published in the British newspaper The Guardian, cited the views of Sadad al-Husseini, who had been in charge of exploration and production at the Saudi state-owned company Aramco for 12 years until 2004.

    • Activist Communique: Save the Beaver Pond Forest

      With the rising of the morning sun on February 8, 2011, activists held what could be described as a ceremony of protection for the Beaver Pond Forest as they encircled the cutting machines that have been tearing into the South Marsh Highlands to protect the land from developers; and in turn, protecting we two-legged (humans) from having to commit such destruction.

    • Young Activist Faces 10 Years in Prison After Trying to Save Public Lands From Oil and Gas Companies

      On Friday, December 19, 2008, Tim DeChristopher participated in a public auction. As the Bush administration moved to auction off 77 parcels of federal land totaling 150,000 acres for oil and gas drilling, DeChristopher, a student at the University of Utah at the time, bid $1.7 million for 14 parcels totaling 22,000 acres of land, although he did not have the funds to pay for it.

  • Finance

    • Effort Afoot in Vermont to Abolish Corporate Personhood

      One year after the Supreme Court ruled in the Citizens United case that corporations have the same rights as people, movements are underway around the U.S. to reverse the new protections granted by the country’s highest court. Vermont State Senator Virginia Lyons has introduced the country’s first anti-corporate personhood resolution which proposes amending the U.S. Constitution to specify that “corporations are not persons under the laws of the United States.”

    • Crack Down On Fraudclosure!
    • Fraudclosure: Will State AGs Step Up to Their Moment in History?

      Rumor has it that the 50-state attorneys general investigation into the Fraudclosure scandal is wrapping up. It’s time for a backbone check. Will the state attorneys general just ask the big banks and service providers to turn over a chunk of change from seemingly bottomless pockets? (This strategy was pursued by the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) with little impact). Or will Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller take the lead in wrestling a real settlement out of the banks, so that families hammered by unemployment and underemployment can stay in their homes?

    • Elizabeth Warren 2.0
    • Banksters Back in the Black: JPMorgan Chase

      Earnings and bonus reports are rolling in and the big, bailed-out banks are back in the black. In 2010, total compensation and benefits at publicly traded Wall Street banks and securities firms hit a record of $135 billion — up almost six percent from 2009 according to the Wall Street Journal. JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon may take home the biggest bonus check, an eye-popping $17 million.

    • Revealed: Banks to profit from Big Society

      In the latest attempt to save the floundering Big Society, David Cameron announced today that “the big society bank will be taking £200m from Britain’s banks to put into the voluntary sector.”

    • Biggest Scam in World History Exposed

      The greatest scam in history has been exposed — and has largely been ignored by the media. In fact, it’s still going on.

      The specifics of a secret taxpayer funded “backdoor bailout” organized by unelected bankers have been revealed. The data release revealed “emergency lending programs” that doled out $12.3 trillion in taxpayer money ($16 trillion according to Dr. Ron Paul) — and Congress didn’t know any of the details.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • India’s Biggest Press Scandal Censored by India’s Press Barons

      The year 2010 saw Indian journalists, their associations and unions hold more conferences and seminars on one professional issue than any other. And it wasn’t the Wage Board or the Radia tapes. Hundreds of journalists across the country attended these meetings. Dozens stood up and spoke of their own experiences of the subject. Of how it demoralized them and ruined their profession. Yet, the main topic of their discussion found no mention the next day in the very newspapers, magazines or channels they work for.

      Sometimes, the fact of the meeting being held, perhaps as an event attended by a High Court judge, was reported. But the subject discussed was not. In newspapers and channels choking with stories on corruption, this is the one you’re least likely to see. The media are their own worst censors when it comes to reporting on ‘Paid News.’

    • Taco Bell fights beef charges with ‘truth’ ads, may countersue

      Back in 2006, an E.coli outbreak at Taco Bells sickened dozens of people in six states. Then, in early 2007, a videotape of rats running rampant at a Taco Bell/KFC in New York City went viral. It took Taco Bell months to recover from this one-two image punch.

    • Anti-Abortion Groups Step Up Campaign Against Planned Parenthood

      “We were profoundly shocked when we viewed the videotape,” Phyllis Kinsler, chief executive of the agency’s central New Jersey branch, said in a statement. Ms. Kinsler said the tape “depicted an employee of one of our health centers behaving in a repugnant manner that is inconsistent with our standards of care and is completely unacceptable.”

      Stuart Schear, vice president for communications of the national federation, said in an interview on Wednesday that Planned Parenthood had “zero tolerance” for unethical behavior and that the behavior filmed in the video was “very isolated.”

    • Ad Change Underlines Influence of N.F.L.

      Unveiled by Toyota in November, the television commercial highlighted the carmaker’s decision to share crash research with scientists studying football concussions, and was an explicit reminder of football’s recent controversies regarding concussions.

      So explicit, it turns out, that the N.F.L. demanded that Toyota alter the 30 second commercial, and Toyota promptly did.

  • Censorship

    • Judge’s order bans jury pamphlets, sparking free-speech debate

      os-court-jury-pamphlet-ban-20110204

      A court order signed this week prohibits the distribution of pamphlets or leaflets meant to influence jurors outside the Orange and Osceola courthouses.

      The administrative order, signed by Chief Judge Belvin Perry on Monday, has sparked a fresh free-speech debate that could lead to legal challenges, questioning whether the order amounts to a “prior restraint” or a form of censorship.

    • ‘The King’s Speech’ Threatened With Legal Action Over ‘No Animals Harmed’ Claim (Updated)

      The King’s Speech may have a new speech impediment on its path to the Academy Awards.

      The American Humane Association has contacted producers of the film and is threatening legal action over the use of phrase, “No animals were harmed,” in the end credits.

      The public advocacy group has a trademark on this phrase and over the years, has leveraged its rights so as to be involved in film productions and certify that no “animal actors” get harmed or killed in studio films. The organization typically demands advanced copies of scripts and daily call sheets to review and also requires on-set access whenever animals are used.

      The AHA says it was never invited to monitor The King’s Speech, however, and so it demands that The Weinstein Co., which is distributing the highly-praised film, remove the assurance to movie-goers that no animals were harmed during the production.

  • Privacy

    • In Europe, a Right to Be Forgotten Trumps the Memory of the Internet

      A quarter-century after coming to the United States, Franz Werro still thinks like a European. The 54-year-old Georgetown law professor, born and raised in Switzerland, is troubled when ads in French automatically pop up on his American laptop. The computer assumes that’s what he wants. We live naked on the Internet, Werro knows, in a brave new world where our data lives forever. Google your name, and you’ll stumble onto drunken photos from college, a misguided quote given to a reporter five years ago, court records, ancient 1 a.m. blog comments, that outdated Friendster profile … the list goes on, a river of data creating a profile of who you are for anyone searching online: friend, merchant, or potential future employer. Werro’s American students rarely mind.

    • Facebook Faces Privacy Questions From Congressmen

      Two Congressmen have sent a letter to Facebook requesting information about plans to share users’ mobile phone and address information with developers.

  • Civil Rights

    • EFF, ACLU Challenge Feds’ WikiLeaks Twitter Probe

      Two civil liberties groups representing a former WikiLeaks associate have filed a motion challenging the government’s attempt to obtain her Twitter records, as well as the records of two others associated with the secret-spilling website. The groups also filed motions to unseal records in the case.

      The case involves Birgitta Jonsdottir, a member of Iceland’s parliament, as well as WikiLeaks’ U.S. representative Jacob Appelbaum, and Dutch businessman and activist Rop Gonggrijp. Jonsdottir and Gonggrijp helped WikiLeaks prepare a classified U.S. Army video that the site published last April.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/UBB

    • FCC Net Neutrality is a Regulatory ‘Trojan Horse,’ EFF Says

      The Federal Communications Commission’s net-neutrality decision opens the FCC to “boundless authority to regulate the internet for whatever it sees fit,” the Electronic Frontier Foundation is warning.

      The civil rights group says the FCC’s action in December, which was based on shaky legal authority, creates a paradox of epic proportions. The EFF favors net neutrality but worries whether the means justify the ends.

      “We’re wholly in favor of net neutrality in practice, but a finding of ancillary jurisdiction here would give the FCC pretty much boundless authority to regulate the internet for whatever it sees fit. And that kind of unrestrained authority makes us nervous about follow-on initiatives like broadcast flags and indecency campaigns,” Abigail Phillips, an EFF staff attorney, wrote on the group’s blog Thursday.

      And the paradox grows.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Jeff Koons’ Balloon Dog Copyright Claim: A Dog That Wouldn’t Hunt

      Today, balloon dogs everywhere can breathe a sigh of relief: SF’s Park Life store/gallery announced that artist Jeff Koons has dropped legal action against the sale of its balloon dog-shaped bookends.

      In a story that migrated from The Bay Citizen to the New York Times, eventually reaching the San Francisco Chronicle, the NY-based artist, famous for his appropriation of pop culture, was roundly mocked for sending a cease-and-desist to the Richmond District store and the Toronto manufacturer of the bookends.

    • The Justice Department and the RIAA/MPAA
    • Sarah Palin, daughter Bristol seek to register trademarks on their names
    • Copyrights

      • MPAA threatens to disconnect Google from the Internet

        Over the last few months, Google has received more than 100 copyright infringement warnings from MPAA-affiliated movies studios: most are directed at users of Google’s public Wi-Fi service but others are meant for Google employees. The MPAA is thus warning the search giant that it might get disconnected from the Internet.

        “Copyright infringement also violates your ISP’s terms of service and could lead to limitation or suspension of your Internet service. You should take immediate action to prevent your Internet account from being used for illegal activities,” the movie companies write in various letters, according to TorrentFreak. Although the copyright holders use strong language, these notices are nothing simply warnings, and typically do not lead to legal action.

      • Lessons from the Texas Downloading Dismissal – Why Due Process Matters

        Apparently out of the blue, a copyright lawsuit filed in federal court in Dallas by a German pornographer against 670 anonymous Internet users, who were charged with infringing the copyright in the film by making it available for download, has been dismissed. The back story holds lessons for judges confronted with demands to discover the identify of anonymous Internet users.

      • Music Publisher Discovers A Song In Its Catalog Has Been Heavily Sampled For Decades… Sues Everyone

        Rather than just suing those behind the Heavy’s song, Drive In has basically gone on a legal rampage. It sued pretty much everyone even loosely connected with the song. So, it sued the label… but also the ad agency that put together the ad, the NFL for having the commercial during the Super Bowl and CBS for airing the ad. Apparently that lawsuit was settled, which is too bad, as it seems like many of those parties could push back on the claims.

      • Homeland Security Tries And Fails To Explain Why Seized Domains Are Different From Google

        Moe then asks Hayes if he links to a site that has infringing content from his Public Radio blog, will ICE shut down the site. And Hayes makes a really weird remark that makes no sense, sayings that if Moe “gets advertising funds from a site that provides unauthorized content” then he might have to shut them down. But that’s something new. We’ve seen no assertions or evidence that the sites that have been take down received ads from the other sites that were hosting the content. Is Hayes totally making stuff up now? It sounds like Hayes doesn’t even understand what he’s talking about.

        Finally, Moe asks: if a site links and embeds to all the same content, but does not profit from it (i.e., does not have advertising), is it criminal? Hayes totally punts and says he’d have to check the law. Yes, really. So the guy is not an expert on the technology and admits he’s not an expert on the law in question. So what is he an expert in and why is he leading these questionable seizures?

        On a separate note, it’s nice to see that Homeland Security is willing to chat with the press again after telling us that it will not speak about these issues because it’s an “ongoing investigation before court.” Apparently, Homeland Security was also lying to me (though, we knew that already).

      • Star Wars Is A Remix
      • Meet Evan Stone, P2P pirate hunter

        Evan Stone is not the devil; indeed, the antipiracy lawyer sees himself on the side of the angels. But his crusade against the Satanic forces of BitTorrent has been, by his own admission, a pitched battle in which he is vastly outnumbered. He describes his work as “charging hell with a bucket of water.”

      • Righthaven Goes After Pajamas Media, Despite DMCA Agent & Strong Fair Use Case

        It’s been a little while since we covered what newspaper copyright troll Righthaven was up to, but Eric Goldman alerts us to one recent legal filing from the operation that raises some questions. Historically, Righthaven has been careful to avoid websites that have registered a DMCA agent, knowing that under the DMCA it’s supposed to issue a takedown notice before suing. However, this case, in going after the successful blog network Pajamas Media, appears to ignore the fact that Pajamas Media has registered.

      • In Praise Of Piracy

        Although it pains me to say this, it’s the pirates who are on the right side of history. Empires built on barbed wire inevitably collapse, and the sooner the better; while this one reigns, it perpetuates yesterday’s regimes, and squelches innovation and progress. Is piracy wrong? Yes, but that’s the wrong question. The right question is, which is worse: widespread piracy, or the endless and futile attempt to preserve DRM everywhere? So long live the pirates. Those jerks. Please don’t make me say it again.

      • MPAA sues Hotfile, battle for cloud begins

        File-hosting service Hotfile has made a business out of offering a stash box for people to store their pirated movies, the Motion Picture Association of America claims in its suit against Hotfile.

      • MPAA Files Surprisingly Weak Billion Dollar Lawsuit Against Hotfile

        Hotfile, one of a number of cyberlockers out there, has been in the news increasingly lately, as various entertainment industry firms have been attacking it as one of the more popular cyberlockers. It appears that the MPAA and its whole content protection staff finally decided to go beyond complaining and actually sue Hotfile, asking (of course) for the maximum $150,000 in statutory damages for each infringing file it found on Hotfile.

      • IP Czar Report Hits On All The Lobbyist Talking Points; Warns Of More Draconian Copyright Laws To Come

        We had serious questions from the beginning about Senator Patrick Leahy’s “ProIP” bill, which was pushed very strongly by the lobbying group, the US Chamber of Commerce, using widely debunked stats to claim that there needed to be an “IP Enforcement Coordinator” in the White House. Yet, as we explained, such a position makes absolutely no sense. Even “pro intellectual property” folks noted that the law was anything but “pro intellectual property.” Instead it was pro-legacy business structure. So giving a role in the White House to someone whose sole job is to protect legacy business models is the very definition of regulatory capture. And while the IP Enforcement Coordinator, Victoria Espinel, has been kind enough to personally reach out to us multiple times since taking on the job, in the end she still sees her role to be protecting legacy industry jobs, rather than (as the Constitution requires) making sure that intellectual property promotes the progress.

      • Russian media combats false piracy prosecutions

        Some good news out of Samara. As we’ve reported previously, trumped-up piracy accusations have been frequently used in Russia to intimidate independent media. Sergei Kurt-Adzhiyev, a Russian editor, has spent years fighting piracy prosecutions against himself and his publications in the region. This week, he was declared not guilty. Russia’s Finance Ministry was ordered to pay him 450,000 rubles or $15,200 for the false charge of using pirated software.

      • Copyright in a Free (gratis) World

        The big idea: I’m spending 628% more time on copyrighted content that is being given away than content I’m paying for. Much of it is ad-supported, but much of that ad money never ends up in the pocket of the artist: most content creators on youtube, reddit, 9gag, devour, or blogs never profit off of their creations.

      • Digital Economy (UK)/ACS:OutLaw

        • ACS:Law Judgment Has Serious Implications for Digital Economy Act

          Yesterday, Judge Birss QC at the Patents County Court delivered his judgment in the copyright infringement hearing which featured ACS:Law, copyright troll client MediaCAT and 27 alleged file-sharers. While Birss was damning of the process from start to finish, some of key issues he raised could have serious implications for the UK’s Digital Economy Act.

          The battle against ACS:Law, MediaCAT and other companies previously involved in developing the so-called Speculative Invoicing model in the UK, has been fought on many fronts. A key group that has championed the rights of the innocent caught in the dragnet, and indeed introduced the term ‘Speculative Invoicing’ to the legal landscape, is BeingThreatened.com. This compact and highly resourceful team have worked tirelessly to protect innocent members of the public from the predatory tactics we have read so much about lately.

        • With ACS:Law And MediaCAT Shutting Down, What Does It Mean For US Copyright Group?

          It certainly looks like DGW has been a bit more careful with its strategy than ACS:Law (where it really seemed like Andrew Crossley got in way over his head), but it certainly should be a warning sign to all those law firms who think this sort of shakedown play is easy money.

        • ACS:Law and overstated proof

          Yesterday afternoon saw the latest twist in the protracted story of ACS:Law. They have been engaged in a campaign to intimidate and extort money from thousands of people with little evidence and even less proper due process. Last week, with their flimsy cases facing scrutiny in court, ACS:Law wound themselves up, disappearing in a puff of smoke like cartoon villains. But Judge Birss, of the Patents County Court, insisted that the cases must continue.

          And so the case drags on. But aside from one law firm’s nefarious practice, it offers us important lessons for the way copyright enforcement works. In particular there are implications for that flagship but very flawed legislation aimed at reducing file-sharing in the UK, the Digital Economy Act. It is important to say that these lessons have nothing to do with the rights and wrongs of copyright infringement. They have everything to do with basic principles of justice and due process. If you are accused of doing something wrong, you are presumed innocent until proven otherwise by sufficient evidence. You would expect there to be reasonable ways to defend yourself. Punishments should follow this kind of process.

        • ACS:Law told file-sharing case must continue by court

          Now a judge had criticised the firm for its methods.

          “I cannot imagine a system better designed to create disincentives to test the issues in court,” said Judge Colin Birss at the Patents County Court in London.

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Debian 6 “Squeeze” First Look, Impressions and History Lesson


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